...more >Fraggle Rock than, well, rock...
Taking their name from the place where psychedelic
pioneer Ken Kesey famously first dropped pure LSD,
an evening spent in the company of Menlo Park is
something akin to joining Kesey on that inaugural
trip, before ending up at a Greek wedding with a time
machine full of misfits.
Centering round Philadelphian Chris Taylor and – bizarrely –
world-music-loving MOR chump Paul Simon‘s son, Harper, this
quintet clearly don’t care about the season’s fashion
dictates: the bassist is a 40s Capone-alike gangster,
the viola player resembles nothing less than Lemmy in that
Kit Kat ad and Taylor himself flails about in a manner
that is more >Fraggle Rock than, well, rock.
Throwing wry, Martin Amis-style lyrical asides into the mix
of voodoo folk and alt.country, Menlo Park‘s raw, mangled
blues manages to unite everything from Tom Waits and Neil
Young to Radiohead and Dr. Dre. It ends with a sort of
rock’n’roll barn dance apocalypse: dressed like an evangelist
in some nineteenth century period drama, Taylor descends
repeatedly into the mass of brainwashed followers, baptising
his many new converts.